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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Al Sadr Ups the Ante?

It continues to be unclear whether or not the fighting in Basrah was a stunning victory or defeat for Al Sadr, however he just made his latest move.

Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr threw down yet another challenge to the Iraqi government, demanding that policemen and soldiers Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki fired for refusing to fight al-Sadr's militia be reinstated "after honoring them." On Sunday, Maliki's government announced the dismissal of more than 1,300 security personnel who deserted last month when fighting broke out between Iraqi government forces and the Mahdi Army in Basra. Sadr reacted swiftly to the news by issuing a statement from the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf Monday that said those who refused to take up arms against his militia were only doing their religious duty.

So far, Maliki showed great fortitude in taking on Al Sadr however by all accounts the operation was clumsy. It is still unclear which side will come out victorious. How Maliki will deal with this latest move will go a long way toward determining that...

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